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Sari of the Gods

Sari of the Gods

by G. S. Sharat Chandra, G. S. Chandra, G. S. Sharat Chandra

The dual lives of immigrants and the multifaceted challenges faced when divided between cultures.


The dual lives of immigrants and the multifaceted challenges faced when divided between cultures.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Chandra brings a light touch and an empathetic grasp of immigrants' dilemmas to these compelling tales of Indian-Americans and Indians. The 19 stories are divided into three sections. "Here" deals mostly with new or recent arrivals from India. These include a starry-eyed young discount-store cashier in Kansas dreaming of big bucks, a mentally disturbed homesick man who stabs a life-size female doll with scissors and a guilt-ridden housewife in New York who dreams of being immolated on a funeral pyre after her white dinner guests spill brandy on her beloved wedding sari. In "Dot Busters," the first section's best story, an Indian-American couple are assaulted by a gang of white racist thugs; the husband later dies and the widow copes with single motherhood and has a lesbian affair. The old-fashioned stories of the middle section, "There," set in agrarian southern India during the 1950s and '60s, turn a droll eye on swamis, yogis, local politicians and petty officials, all of whom take advantage of ordinary people's fatalism and ignorance. "Neither Here Nor There," the final section, features delicious, razor-sharp stories set in the present about Indian-Americans who go back to India but discover they can't readily adjust to its backwardness and xenophobia. Chandra, a 1993 Pulitzer nominee for poetry (Family of Mirrors), brings a searchingly candid, nimble realism to these acute stories about Indians looking to understand what it means to be home. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
YA-Chandra explores the immigrant experience with a poet's ruthless eye, clarity of focus, and deep humanity. The 19 stories are written in a variety of styles expressive of their subjects. Some are deceptively simple, with an earthy humor and gently satiric charm that will doubtless earn many comparisons to the work of R. K. Narayan, while others can be compared to Latin American magic realism, or to recent experimental Western writing. Taken together, the selections explore ways in which a clash of cultures plays out in terms of individual human experience. They are grouped into three sections: "Here," about South Indian immigrants in the West; "There," a look back at immigrants' cultural roots in post-Raj South India; and "Neither Here Nor There," about those who find they can't go home again. Readers who have some familiarity with Indian literature and South Indian culture will get the most out of these narratives but even those who miss many of the cultural referents should enjoy the sheer humanity, humor, tragedy, and diversity of perspectives found here. These gemlike offerings deal in a frank way with many issues of particular concern to young adults: sexuality, violence, bigotry, communication, alienation, responsibility, love, feminism, spirituality, superstition, and mental illness. Chandra conveys a sense of the infinite variety and possibility of human experience, and these unique stories should be of great interest to teens of any culture.-Christine C. Menefee, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
David Masello
In..."Sari of the Gods," Chandra has been able to render with insight a trio of locales -- India, America and a hybrid place that's mysteriously in between. -- David Masello, The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

Coffee House Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

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